Banking in Iran for expats (using ATMs)
ATMs in Iran are plentiful
Debit Card’s & ATMs in Iran
As a result of economic sanctions on Iran, it remains difficult to use foreign ATMs credit and debit cards in the country. Those visiting the country should bring enough cash to get them going in their first month in the country.
However, as previously mentioned in our previous report, opening a bank account as a resident foreigner is possible, and several banks are ready to help you get set up.
There are roughly 42,000 ATMs in Iran currently operating, and in any large town, you are no more than 1 Kilometre away from the nearest one.
When you use an Iranian ATM card in a local cash machine, you will usually Also with both English and Persian language options before commencing with your transactions.
According to our research using the local ATM network, 80% of cash machines in Tehran offer an English option. However, some banks including Parsian Bank do not have an English language option. Other banks like Tejarat recently upgraded their entire ATM system to support dual language.
Connecting Iranian cards with foreign banking networks
Banking, especially about joining with foreign bank accounts continues to remain a significant obstacle as remaining US sanctions on the country have made foreign banks to be overcautious with ties to transacting with Iranian institutions.
However, developments in the industry over 2017 have been decisive in some respects, for example, from May this year the CBI said it intended to connect the local banking sector with Russia’s Mir payments system.
According to the latest report by Tehran’s Financial Tribune daily newspaper on Dec. 4, holders of local Shetab bank cards are now able to take money from Russian ATMs. It remains to be seen how fast the two countries connect. However, all signs suggest that the banks should be fully linked from January.
Moreover, that report notes that once connected to Russia’s local Mir payments system, holders of Iranian bank cards and Russians possessing Mir cards will be able to conduct transactions in both countries.
If that is joint venture is successful, Iran intends to expand further its cooperation with ex-Soviet countries participating in the Mir system. Good news if you are currently based in the country and are looking to travel to the next World Cup in Russia in 2018.
Also, Iran also intends to integrate its banking system with other countries in the near region, including Azerbaijan, Iraq and Qatar at a later date.